31 October, 2020

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The Predatory Them And The Puerile Us

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“King who feed on your people, since you rule nonentities…” –Homer (The Iliad)

Six billion rupees of public funds will be spent on building a super-luxury condominium to house Sri Lanka’s abstemious parliamentarians. The fully air-conditioned skyscraper will spread over two-and-a-half acres and consist of “all modern facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, walking paths, restaurants and playgrounds”[i]. The self-denying parliamentarians will pay the princely sum of Rs 1,000 per month for their new rent-free abodes, as refundable deposit.

The Siblings

If there is no appreciable difference on any front between the Rajapaksas and their opponents, apart from Mahinda’s winning smile, Basil’s oleaginous manner and Gotabhaya’s mailed-fist, the Rajapaksas may not even need to use the 10 new water-cannon trucks purchased from India at Rs. 5-6million each

In that same country, the free midday-meal for primary-school students has reportedly been reduced to a glass of milk, because the suppliers for last year’s meals are yet to be paid.[ii]

A Japanese company, and not the ubiquitous Chinese, will be tasked with building the condominium for parliamentarians. So unlike the ‘Always Breakdown’ Norochcholai, the legislators will be blessed with well-built and properly-functioning living spaces.

Corruption (in the word’s broadest possible sense) is a key control-tool of the Rajapaksas. The Siblings use the state and its resources to punish opponents and to reward those who succumb. The gifts granted to Hirunika Premachandra, who succumbed, is the corollary of the attempt to persecute Mangala Samaraweera, who refused to succumb, by using a Victorian-law sourced in the homophobic Old Testament values!

The project to provide all parliamentarians with opulent abodes at national expense is part of a larger plan to transform corruption into a national template. When corruption is a common malaise rather than a familial/governmental one, the moral-ethical distance between the Rulers and their opponents is automatically effaced. In such a state, the electorate, instead of erupting in anger, will sink into disgusted apathy.

Apathy, as history proves, is an invaluable friend of tyranny.

Hegemonic rulers are those who succeed in inculcating the ruled with their own values. The Rajapaksas have made deadly advances in this department. Sinhala-Buddhist supremacism is kosher; familial politics is the norm; nepotism no longer disgusts; corruption and opportunism seem smart, winning-qualities rather than execrable vices.

In a country where war is peace, slavery freedom and ignorance strength, cowardice becomes bravery, self-interest wisdom and hatred patriotism.

The epidemic nature of the problem is indicated by Namini Wijedasa’s expose of the familial nature of our foreign service[iii]. That the Rajapaksas are using the Foreign Service as salubrious pastures for their mostly mediocre kith and kin was no surprise; what was truly shocking was the number of equally unprepossessing non-Rajapaksa political offspring/siblings occupying second-level diplomatic positions across the globe[iv].

So the Opposition’s response to the housing-trap will be crucial. Will the UNP, the JVP and the TNA stringently oppose this criminal waste of public funds and refuse to become its beneficiaries? Or will they too apply for a house in the ultra-luxury condominium?

When the Rajapaksas used the BBS to try to prevent the slightly-reformed UNP from reaching out to the persecuted Tamils, their plan was to get the Elephant (and the Leadership Council) to tar itself with the same racist-brush as themselves. If there is no appreciable difference on any front between the Rajapaksas and their opponents, apart from Mahinda’s winning smile, Basil’s oleaginous manner and Gotabhaya’s mailed-fist, the Rajapaksas may not even need to use the 10 new water-cannon trucks purchased from India at Rs. 5-6million each[v].

If the opposition succumbs, the consequent growth of public cynicism will undermine the possibility of a moderate and democratic alternative to the Rajapaksas and open the door to extremist and anti-democratic options, of the ethno-religious and/or militarist variety (a Colonels’ or a Sergeants’ coup).

Lost in Illogic

It is not just a moral compass the Rajapaksas are devoid of; they also lack a rational compass. Under their rule the irrational has become as normal and unobjectionable as the immoral and the unethical. This is most devastatingly evident in the financial-economic sphere, where family-centric policies are pushing the country into a ruinous debt-trap.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, in 2010-11 Mihin Lanka “incurred a net loss of Rs.940.49million….and the company’s current liabilities exceeded its current assets by Rs.1,083,92million, reflecting a Negative Networth of Rs.3814.45million”[vi]. The cost of reconstructing the Jaffna-Vavuniya road is said to be Rupees 112.88 million per kilometre[vii] (built by a Chinese contractor with a loan from a Chinese bank). According to the Auditor General’s latest report, “the CPC had entered into contracts with conditions unfavourable to it….  The report refers to losses incurred by the import of substandard fuel, the fallout of the infamous hedging deal and the payment of bonus to staff when the corporation was running at a massive loss.”[viii]  The entry of LIOC was done in a ‘haphazard manner’; the ‘absence of proper agreements’ has allowed the LIOC to use China Bay land sans rent. The signature Rajapaksa project Norochcholai was closed for 73 full days and 43 half days in 2013. In an ultimate irony, the Rajapaksas are now turning to the Indians to clear up the Norochocholai mess, Made-in-China![ix]

The presence of a very narrow stakeholder-base entails the adoption of an accordingly circumscribed governance-perspective. Policy decisions have one overarching motive – the furtherance of the interests and the satisfaction of the whims of the ruling family. This may vary from permitting the loss-making Sri Lankan (headed by Presidential Brother-in-law[x]) to borrow more than Rs. 22.7billion to buy 10 new aircrafts[xi] to permitting the importation of 1000cc motorbikes for ‘sports purposes’[xii] (racing is reportedly an enjoyable pastime and a lucrative business for Presidential offspring).

All costs of Familial misrule will ultimately fall on the people, including the Rajapaksas’ Sinhala-Buddhist base.  According to Minister Sarath Amunugama, “most low income groups are eking out an existence on just one and a half dollars a day”[xiii]. As more indirect taxes are imposed, to pay for corruption, waste, incompetence and extravagance, the living conditions of ordinary people will plummet at a greater rate. Still the Rajapaksas will be safe, so long as the majority Sinhala-Buddhists allow themselves to be hoodwinked by patriotic slogans and terrified by Tiger/Jihad/Church/international conspiracy bogies.

During his epic-contestation with Agamemnon, Achilles of The Iliad faults his leader for making personally-motivated and thus collectively-counterproductive decisions, and implies that Greek compliance has enabled this ruinous path.

The Siblings are able to have their untrammelled way not only because the opposition is weak but also because the majority community is fatally short-sighted, unintelligent and irrational.

The Sinhalese, with the Rajapaksas, are traversing a similar path as Tamils did with the Tigers.

Discriminated against by Colombo, bereft of hope in democracy and rule of law, the Tamils yearned for a forceful leadership which could reply the Sinhalese in their own language. The LTTE is the result of that yearning. Caught in an unending war, the Sinhalese too yearned for a forceful leadership which could fight the Tigers, the Tiger way. The Rajapaksas are the result of that yearning.

Tamils, for reasons good and ill, acquiesced with the Tiger’s homicidal/suicidal way, and ended in Nandikadal, internment camp and de facto occupation. The near carte blanche accorded by Sinhala-Buddhists to the Rajapaksas is equally ill-fated. Whether Sinhala-Buddhist submission to Rajapaksa’s predatory misrule is motivated by understandable fear or culpable identification would be immaterial to that final disastrous dénouement.



[i] http://www.infolanka.com/news/IL/dm934.htm The original appeared in the Daily Mirror – 21.1.2014

[ii] Daily Mirror – 22.1.2014

[iv] An inevitable outcome of staffing our embassies with well-connected nincompoops is that more national wealth has to be wasted in hiring foreign public relations firms to do the work of diplomats; for instance, the UNP recently revealed that the Central Bank has signed a Rs. 100million deal with Thomson Advisory Group to woo American congressmen: http://www.ft.lk/2014/01/22/unp-exposes-rs-100-m-deal-to-woo-us-congressmen/

[vi] The Sunday Times – 1.12.2013

[viii] The Sunday Times – 15.12.2013

[x] The same gentlemen who publicly admitted to smuggling foreign currency into the country, and got away with it.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    2

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 6
      1

      ela kolla, you will never learn, will you?

      • 5
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        Like to see how Dayan Jayatilleke is dressed when he writes under tihs name!

        Gosh, it must be painful to sit on your equipmrnt for that long, searching for quotes etc.

        Keep up Dayan, Shyamon will come looking for you it looks like1

      • 6
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        Not only Ela Kolla nor will dumb and stupid Sri Lankan electorate ever learn anything either.

        Where are the UNP monkeys? Where is the opposition?

        Abominable!

      • 2
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        He has now become thana kolla??

    • 2
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      If only all ela kollas among the Sinhalese understand this:

      ”…..Tamils, for reasons good and ill, acquiesced with the Tiger’s homicidal/suicidal way, and ended in Nandikadal, internment camp and de facto occupation. The near carte blanche accorded by Sinhala-Buddhists to the Rajapaksas is equally ill-fated. Whether Sinhala-Buddhist submission to Rajapaksa’s predatory misrule is motivated by understandable fear or culpable identification would be immaterial to that final disastrous dénouement”

  • 12
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    Tissaranee- as usual fearless and truthful. I would like CT readers to read the following extract of a story relating to the Uruguay President:

    “That’s Not A Poor Farmer Checking On His Crops. You’ll Never Guess Who It Actually Is… Wow.
    December 27, 2013 Stories
    Meet José Mujica. He may look like your average farmer or grandfather, but he is anything but. This man is globally known as the world’s “poorest President” because he lives a life of humility… all while leading the country of Uruguay . As a man who truly cares about his people, he doesn’t take an obscene amount of money to just act as a politician. He donates about 90% of his $12,000 monthly salary to charities that benefit poor people and small entrepreneurs.
    Other countries, listen up.
    It’s not uncommon to see Jose dressed like this. He doesn’t care about money and appearances, but just leading his country.

    He has literally spent his entire life fighting for his country.

    He was a guerilla fighter that battled for the rights of the country’s citizens, was imprisoned twice and was shot 6 times after an escape attempt.

    This is Uruguay ’s Presidential Palace. He doesn’t live here.

    Instead, he lives here, on a farm with his wife.

    He actually is a part-time farmer. He and his wife also grow and sell flowers. He also drives a 1987 Volkswagon Beetle.

    He only has two guards positioned on his road. Along with his beloved 3-legged dog Manuela, of course.

    Instead of acting like he is better than everybody else, the president of a country wholeheartedly believes that he IS like everybody else.
    In a time when it seems that rich politicians rule the world, learning about Jose is truly refreshing. Please share this article with others.”
    ——————————-Safe Stamp———————————–
    service provider.

    ________________________________________

  • 9
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    Hello there,

    The Rajapaske dynastic ambition is no doubt pass on the baton to Namal Rajapaske. Namal being young, without 18th amendment term restrictions he can rule for a lifetime. It will be similar to the Indonesian Suharto regime.

    The next Prez election is crucial. The opposition will be buried under forever if they do not win in a massive landslide. After losing 18 years in row the next loss will be fatal. They will be demoralised to such an extent they may never recover. The country will almost certainly go the way of Suharto.

    Rajapaske’s are most certainly milking the LTTE bogey. They will not enable conditions that permit TNA to enter the PSC. If the PSC comes togeather they will most likely scrap the exec prez and powers of 18th amendment.

    Given the scenario it is indeed crucial for all opposition to join forces. Not just join forces they must make sure Rajapske cannot milk the LTTE bogey by joining the PSC and writing a new constitution with the involvement of the TNA.

    • 7
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      Vibhushana

      Tsunami arrived uninvited, unexpectedly, without warning.

      • 0
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        This streak of misery, native hymie is deluged in his warped mind that a regime change is going to come.

        Only Arlene is praying for it, with the gardener!

        • 1
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          rattaran

          “This streak of misery, native hymie is deluged in his warped mind that a regime change is going to come.”

          Regime change is not my choice. It could come within not necessarily from outside. My choice would be to kick all of you out of this island.

          As for my warped mind, you should appreciate that at least I a have mind of my own.

    • 6
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      ‘Rajapakses dig their own grave with unprecedented corruption, waste & mismanagement of public funds & no way out’.

      Above is your own comment :)
      Therefore if the opposition is buried under forever or not, Jarafuckerspaksas will be buried in their own graves they very soon.

    • 2
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      .
      I cannot even imagine GoRa calling NaRa “Sir”!

      :-)

      • 1
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        Aratai,

        How if Namal feed Gota to the dogs like in North Korea?

        • 0
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          “How if Namal feed Gota to the dogs like in North Korea?”

          Ha! Ha! Ha! Very fuckingly clever comment! And it could happen too!

  • 11
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    Rajapakses dig their own grave with unprecedented corruption, waste & mismanagement of public funds & no way out.
    In Economics too their is no way out of this mess, except inevitable disaster & may survive at most another 02 years barely.

  • 7
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    As long as Ranil Co does not move out & continues to meddle with the “LC” the populace gets fast tracked apathy.

    Ranil,the worlds only opposition leader who relishes the thought of being in the opposition.He’s been this way (relishing opposition) since 1994.

    As someone said about Assad of Syria: He doesn’t like to go, he has sentimental feelings about the job as his father gave it to him.

    • 0
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      watey ranil ,

      Wipe off the “watery and slippery muck” leaking from your [Edited out]. What rubbish nonsense are you uttering? You asked for power and leadership and Ranil gave you the fucking thing. What the fuck are you moaning about now without showing the results of your works?

  • 1
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    ” Puerile Us” …..Ms T…

    Has she already got her Dual ?…..

  • 8
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    This constant criticism of the UNP and Ranil W is playing straight into the hands of The Family. Even the likes of Dr. Dayan Jayatileka and Prof. Sujeewa Wijesinghe, arguably two leading intellectuals in the country, seem to be sucking up to the President if not The Family.

    I am getting fed up with SL media. Yesterday MTV news announced that Ravi Karunanayaka had paid a courtesy call on the Maldivian president and all the while Ranil W was in the picture. The station didn’t even mention his name! What a shame for MTV!

  • 9
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    A very good expose’
    Bensen

  • 3
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    MTV lost its focus long time ago.
    Lanka is blessed with kept media on one side & muck raking/vendetta media on the other.

  • 2
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    Tisaranee:

    It looks like you have come to the end of your tether and have run out of ideas. In your Article you have jumbled them all up which I might call ” Jumbalaya” (Jambalaya is a hearty mix of meat, vegetables, rice, and sometimes seafood ).

    I am at a loss to understand the connection between King Mahintha spending Six billion rupees of public funds on building a super-luxury condominium to house Sri Lanka’s abstemious parliamentarians and the following “The Sinhalese, with the Rajapaksas, are traversing a similar path as Tamils did with the Tigers “.

    Let me correct your misapprehension about the above statement.
    The Sinhalese have a Choice either to accept or reject King Mahintha at the Polls but they will accept him as there are 20 million Racists who identify themselves with the King on the Tamil Issue.
    Whereas for Tamils Prabakaran was a means to an end and his legacy will be around for a long time as it was evident at the recent polls.

    **** Discriminated against by Colombo, bereft of hope in democracy and rule of law, the Tamils yearned for a forceful leadership which could reply the Sinhalese in their own language. The LTTE is the result of that yearning. Caught in an unending war, the Sinhalese too yearned for a forceful leadership which could fight the Tigers, the Tiger way. The Rajapaksas are the result of that yearning.***

    The above is nothing other than Tiger Bashing.

    **** Tamils, for reasons good and ill, acquiesced with the Tiger’s homicidal/suicidal way, and ended in Nandikadal, internment camp and de facto occupation. The near carte blanche accorded by Sinhala-Buddhists to the Rajapaksas is equally ill-fated. Whether Sinhala-Buddhist submission to Rajapaksa’s predatory misrule is motivated by understandable fear or culpable identification would be immaterial to that final disastrous dénouement.

    As for the above let me put this to you.
    After years of suffering at the hands of Racist Sinhalese what choice did the Tamils have other than what the Tigers offered. Frankly NONE.

    Four years after the war there is no end to Tamil Suffering and MR will not give anything to the Tamils willingly and 20 Million Racists will support him in his quest for Ethnic Cleansing.

    So in future try not to Jumble them all up thereby reduce intellectual stock

  • 1
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    As long as the participation the corruption is justified as a means of survival, the trickle down tendencies bribery and corruption will prevent a change in attitudes.

    Colombo no longer decides the direction of elections in Sri Lanka. The Rajapakses figured out this equation a long time ago. Ranil can’t manage to use a toilet without toilet paper, let alone talk to the rural folk.

    Tiran Alles, the ever ungrateful minion for hire, has now decided to help the Rajapkases target the man who made him rich – Mangala Samaraweera. Alles was a small-time bag boy until Mangala made him Chairman of the Airports Authority. Along with that came the bribes and new riches. To cap it all, he had the Mobitel contract for Trinco and supplied the LTTE with cell phones !!! No wonder he was chosen to carry the bribe money of the Rajapakses to the LTTE.

    So, as much we all can predict the end of the Rajapakses, to change the easy money mentality so in-grained in Sri Lankans today, is not going to be easy. Morality and honesty has to be learnt, and looking at the examples on Public display today, that will be a hard lesson to teach.

  • 3
    1

    Tisaranee:

    Just to give you a foretaste of things to come let me tell you MR is not going to be around to enjoy the spoils as his loyal subjects will be forced to ditch him.

    America is now flexing its muscles and have spoken in ruthless language that MR will be tried for War Crimes and Sanctions will be imposed . MR has tried to fool the World for far too long but is now fighting the Mighty Americans who are supported by Britain , Canada and whole host of other Countries.
    The only support MR has is the Ayatollahs , Mugabe and may be the Chinese ( We call Chinese crackers ).

    America is Sri Lankas biggest trade partner followed by Britain and we all know what happened to the Garnment Industry in Sri Lanka after the EU withdrew the concession.
    If America and Britain with India impose sanctions Sri Lanka will be going round with begging bowls.
    It is then King Mahinthas subjects will be forced to make the decision whether to die with him through starvation or ditch him.

  • 3
    2

    Kali after MR came to power how many Tamil families were forced to give their children for child soldiers? How many Tamils threw away their lives as suicide bombers? How many Tamils have been used as human shields by their ‘protectors’?

    Also, how many Tamil children now go to school in peace? How many houses have the Government and India built for the Tamils? How many thousands of Tamil children have been able to sit their exams in peace?

    There are many bad policies and events taking place in Sri Lanka but everything is not bad.

    • 2
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      Teller you Idiot:

      After MR the Criminal and the Thug came to power Tamils lives in their thousands have been destroyed and blighted. So dont try to stick up for him. Why dont you wait for another few months for MR to be taken to the cleaners.
      MR can run he cannot hide his Crime and that is why he tried to fool tbe World for so long but not any more mate.
      Prepare your defence papers.

      • 2
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        kali

        “After MR the Criminal and the Thug came to power”

        The clan came to power only with help from your Thalaivaru, who had the greatest cunning mind in the entire world.

        Blame yourself for sustaining a great Chanakya for thirty years.

    • 1
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      Now they sink in boats instead

      Quite a few if we count the Buddhist temples and Army camps

    • 1
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      Teller

      “There are many bad policies and events taking place in Sri Lanka but everything is not bad.”

      Please tell us as to what you as consider to be “everything is not bad “

  • 2
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    Tisaranee’s writing is carefully scrutinized by intelligence agencies around the world to see if there is even a slightest variation in her fossilized views. Because that would be an unmistakable indication that something is really beginning to stir in the island and there is reason for concern. Since that never happens the intelligence agencies always go back to sleep. So people who are really concerned about what is happening in Sri Lanka and want to bring about a change, should beware Tisaranee is really working for the Rajapakse regime.

  • 2
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    Rajapakse has made all his MPs Government Servants. The difference is that these new government servants are needed to pass all Rajapakse corrupt laws like the one against Shirani Bandaranayake. Rajapakse needs these hands and so he keeps them in all luxury so that they won’t revolt but will vote for anything the Maharaja wants. These fellows in turn are content with all the perks luxuries cars land deals commission sharing etc.

  • 0
    1

    One thing about T.G. is that we do not need to be in suspense as to the content of her ‘work’. We have got to applaud her for the ‘consistency’;) I don’t think even the Jews have criticized the Nazis day in and day out, as much as T.G. criticizes the Rajapakses.
    There is a good explanation for this. [Edited out] :) lol

  • 0
    1

    I cannot believe that CT has edited out some of my comments. I was just sharing some ‘light’ humour. Even T.G. would have found it amusing. lol

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